…I was asked, “They Called Us Enemy won the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work. (For more information, see https://www.comic-con.org/awards/eisner-awards-current-info (Links to an external site.)). Why do you think the book won the award? Do you agree that it deserved the award? Why or why not? What does or does not make it award worthy?”
Realistic Graphic Novel Non-fiction. Finding new ways and strategies of approaching historical moments that framed a narrative, both good and bad. I sat in on judging a Vocal essay contest today, and the main questions was this theme- “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?”
If you think about this, a telling look into correct, moral, immoral, questionable, controversial, and even more defining adjectives that make up the United States historical past, when you confront, address, and contemplate such moments, past and present (even the future) – critical thinking emerges. Even among divisive viewpoints, which is so talked about today on election today – the stronger individuals are those that disagree, yet do not have to mar another’s character, identity to be able to agree to disagree. When hateful words, when ignorant ranting matches ignorant actions, it is often difficult to separate the two- and the chances of meeting somewhere in middle ground is more like a pit of quick sand around everyone.
On election day more than any other day, the chance to reflect, act, and respect individual’s right to vote is supreme and wanting everyone to be able to participate and find way to become a registered voter should be on everyone’s to do list, looking out for one another along with celebrating the right to vote. Few people, as history reveals, look out of others while one’s own fortunes, fears, and destiny is at stake. The individual who indeed is able to put others in front of him/ her often comes last, true, yet – comes with a lifetime of payback.
All of the above, and even with a little celebrity added, is why George Takei’s graphic novel is so worth celebrating. His story is an American story even though he is Japanese, because, it is not often that a person was born and raised in the United States that makes the only American. This is often abused into a definition. What makes America great is the fact that it is NOT an American of one single race, ethnicity, religion, and 100 other characteristics, but the diversity represents the variety of freedoms we enjoy today, often thanks to the sacrifice and downtrodden of others before us. The ugly past that also is part of the American history, alongside the beautiful, is worth being studied for generations to come, and George Takei does an AMAZING job of putting thought – before judgement – on America’s past.
Being a true, non fiction event and being able to create a discussion, a forum, and a point of critical thinking does not hurt what this publication deserves the awards it has received – as well as adding an additional dimension to what defines being an enemy, being an American, and simply being.